The British sailor Ben Ainslie has hired some Australian help in his latest quest to bring the America's Cup back to Britain.
Ainslie has brought four time America's Cup winner and former Oracle Team USA general manager Grant Simmer on board as chief executive of his Land Rover BAR team, replacing Martin Whitmarsh.
Ainslie, who plans to challenge holders Emirates Team New Zealand for the next America's Cup in 2021, says Whitmarsh will continue as an adviser and become CEO of BAR Technologies, which will commercialise technologies developed by the team.
Simmer, an Australian who has competed in 10 America's Cup cycles, will take responsibility for the sporting and performance side of Land Rover BAR alongside Ainslie and alowing Ainslie more time to focus on sailing.
"My relationship with Grant is such that we will be able to run the team together ... but he is the guy implementing those decisions that we make," said Ainslie.
Ainslie worked closely with Simmer when the Australian led Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA to victory in San Francisco in 2013.
Ainslie was drafted in late as tactician and helped overhaul a huge deficit to win the coveted "Auld Mug".
"I didn't speak to anyone else, I was that certain he was the person I wanted to bring in," Ainslie told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that Simmer's appointment would allow him to focus on sailing.
Whitmarsh will remain as an adviser and become CEO of BAR Technologies, a subsidiary set up to commercialise some of the developments pioneered while building the high-tech boats.
While Ainslie and his Land Rover BAR team were knocked out by the eventual winners in Bermuda, they have regrouped and are preparing a new campaign with the benefit of lessons learned.
"My own personal performance in Bermuda wasn't that bad, I was the best starting helmsman ... my technical performance was good," Ainslie said. But that, he admits, was not enough to win.
"Personally I was arguably stretched too thin, I needed to be able to focus on key areas," he added.
Ainslie said Simmer's arrival in mid-November would bolster the team at a critical moment in their preparations for the next America's Cup in 2021, a campaign which will cost roughly $200 million.
"He (Simmer) can squeeze every last ounce of performance out of a team," Ainslie said, adding that his new recruit had won the America's Cup not only as a manager but also as a sailor and a designer during an illustrious career.
Ainslie said around 75 percent of his "pure race team" of about 100 people would be original members, with the remainder new hires with new skills in areas such as design.
"A new class of boat does create more opportunities and from a design perspective it is more exciting," Ainslie said of the switch to the monohulls chosen by New Zealand.